Sunday, April 6, 2014

Australia 2014 Epilogue: Goodnight, Sweet Australia

The next morning we picked up our rogue coworker, said thanks and goodbye to our de facto tour guide and his partner and rather unceremoniously departed Australia. The flights back were long and uneventful and upon arrival we were greeted by our various loved ones and escorted home in the fog of time change and travel exhaustion. In many, non-metaphoric ways I was returning home to a life – a new apartment, a new living situation, a new job at the studio. If was as if I had left for a month and returned to someone else’s life. But, hopefully at least, someone equally interesting.

Sunset over the Yarra, Melbourne
My Australia trip was unique in my travels so far, though I suppose in some sense every trip is. It was a business trip, where I tried to squeeze adventure into every non-work crevice I could find, so that what was essentially the periphery experiences felt like, to you dear readers, the principal action. It made for a high-energy endeavor, but one that I really enjoyed, as I got to really *live* in Melbourne during my time there. Something I have not done anywhere else in my travels.

Melbourne is a city both charmingly laid-back and full of a wondrous energy that constantly, often surprisingly, manifested itself the entire time I was there. Every week something excited and unexpected was happening and it filled our time there with input – mostly positive, often unusual, and never dull. In Melbourne, perhaps Victoria in general, I was spoiled by excellent espresso at 7 Seeds and awed by world-class pan-Asian cuisine at Chin-chin. I fell in love with Meerkats at Melbourne Zoo and ogled over wild koalas in the Otways. I hiked in the canopy of a rain forest, the shadowy forests of Dandenong and the violently beautiful beaches of Apollo Bay.  I’d sum it all up here, but that would be a full blog post, and you can always go back and read the previous entries…

Sails of the Opera House catching the setting sun
Sydney. I had so little time with the city, but thanks to Baron, the time I did have was pretty jammed with experience. I would have loved to spend more time there and perhaps someday I will (though there are so many more places to see, am I right?) Sydney’s energy was flashy, sleek and frenetic. It was full of the multifaceted peculiarity of humanity, and that was a big part of its charm; that and the timeless landmarks, the amazing food and the world-class beaches. I won’t easily forget the view from that balcony of the bay and the opera house, nor the ferry ride to Manly, nor the chicken feet at Marigold.

As a bit of a closer, and perhaps this doesn’t come across as much in the blog posts, let me emphasize that this was a shared experience. Some of the most fascinating and interesting things that happened were because one of the group of ten other people I was on-and-off adventuring with decided to be bold and commit to something we’d never done before – whether it be driving on the left side on a treacherous winding road, or stepping into a pitch-black rainforest to locate a possibly imaginary creature. This trip was highlighted by moments of risk and reward all of which, thankfully, paid off greatly in the end.

(left-right) Justin, Oscar, Katie, Pace, Ray, Myself, Alan.
Sadly the others stayed home that weekend.
So thanks to Oscar, Justin, Zack (and family), Ray, Alan, Dave, Pace, Katie, Casey, and Tony, for the memories.

I hope you enjoyed my travelogue on Australia 2014. Tune in later this year for the exciting sequel to my Hawaii/Japan trip from 2009-10, Hawaii/Japan 2014, which will hopefully provide a unique tone to the previous trip, as I am going in quite different company this time.